At nearly 1.4 million acres, the Atchafalaya Basin in south central Louisiana comprises America's largest swamp wilderness. Award-winning nature photographer C. C. Lockwood is the foremost chronicler of this natural treasure. What began as a curious side-trip in 1973 became a decades-long love affair, and for more than thirty years, Lockwood has explored the Atchafalaya's waters and captured its haunting beauty on film. Now, twenty-five years after the publication of his first book, he returns to his favorite subject inC. C. Lockwood's Atchafalaya. His passion for the Atchafalaya as expressed in his photographs can be compared to John James Audubon's exuberant appreciation for the state's abundant bird life as depicted in his prints more than 150 years ago. The art of both exalts Louisiana's wildlife—and cautions against taking it for granted.
Lockwood revisits and reflects on the places he has frequented most in the swamp, recalling his escapades both long past and recent among gators and skeeters. He shares the thoughts of basin residents about how the Atchafalaya has changed over time, for better and for worse. Increases and decreases in various bird and other animal populations, changes in water levels and consistency, flora mainstays and trees gone missing, burgeoning aquatic vegetation—all are keenly observed by this explorer. Lockwood finds undiminished the seductive seasonal and diurnal moods of the swamp: autumn and spring, sunset and moonrise, as breathtaking now as in the past.
In nearly one-hundred dazzling color photographs, Lockwood brilliantly documents the Atchafalaya's timeless beauty. He shows amazingly diverse and abundant wildlife, rookeries with thousands of egrets and herons, waters with billions of crawfish, and ridges with deer, squirrel, and woodcock. Waters run deep in Lockwood's soul, as evidenced in his intimate treatment of the meandering bayous fringed with bald cypress trees, the many glassy lakes reflecting vegetation into double images, and the mighty Atchafalaya River—the lifeline of the swamp.
"No place in the world gives me such a feeling of peace as America's largest river basin swamp," writes Lockwood. In these pages, he pays homage to the queen of U.S. wetlands.
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